FIxTURE VS. TRADE FIxTURE Rely on the law to
resolve these landlord/tenant disputes
PETER C. SALES
com) IS AN
TEAM AT BRADLEY
in tOday’s ecOnOMic cliMate
there has Been unPrecedented
tenant turnOver. This turnover often
is not a result of an expiring lease, but instead
due to nonpayment of rent resulting from
business failure. As a result of this increase in
business failures, both tenant and landlord are
often left fighting over the bones of an otherwise dead company.
One issue becoming more and more prevalent in today’s landlord/tenant disputes is
whether something is a “fixture” or a “trade
fixture.” The resolution of this issue can determine whether the tenant or the landlord gets
to keep the “stuff.” This is an issue because,
generally under common law, once something
becomes a fixture, it belongs to the landlord.
However, there is an exception to this rule.
See Supreme Oil Co. v. Metropolitan Transp.
Authority, 1997 WL 607544 (S.D. N. Y. 1997);
Fondren v/ K/L Complex Ltd., 800 P.2d 719
Typically, a trade fixture is something that
the tenant has affixed to the freehold, which
can be removed without damage, and which
was affixed for the purpose of carrying on the
tenant’s particular line of business. As such,
unless the lease specifically speaks to the contrary, it is a possession of the tenant and may
Conversely, if something is affixed to the
freehold and either cannot be removed without
significant damage or was not directly related
to the tenant’s business, then it is a fixture and
belongs to the landlord.
VISIT www.IrEm.orG/Educa TIon FOR INFORMATION ON IREM COURSES AND
TRAINING FOR YOUR STAFF.